This may seem like an odd topic for an nascent house and home blog to take on, but this is the season where every home décor magazine and design blogger is predicting what will be hot in interior design in the year to come. I’ve read too many of these articles already, and I have something to say on the topic. I’ve come to the conclusion that you probably shouldn’t worry about design trends. Hear me out…
The authorities disagree
Is the white trend dying or going strong? Is brass classic, or is it time for gold-colored hardware to make room for platinum hues? Jewel tones are over, but we still like sapphire blue and emerald green? As with any prediction about the future, some are bound to be right and some are bound to be wrong. If you choose colors and materials you like, you might luck out and be on-trend, but even if you’re not, you will find beauty in the pieces you’ve chosen, and beautiful surroundings make us happier.
Trends emerge and disappear at a dizzying rate
Three years ago, when I selected the finishes for my bathroom fixtures, I chose chrome thinking it was classic and would stand the test of time. As we reached peak saturation of warm-colored metals in 2017 and 2018, I wondered if I had made a mistake. When I saw the prediction that chrome is back for 2019, I felt very smug about my smart choice. Prior to the 21st century, trends seemed to last for a decade or more, but that’s no longer the case. The interior design industry is taking a cue from fast fashion and pumping out new colors and finishes to keep us in the cycle of buying more and more. In a way, you’re being manipulated into buying. Doesn’t that kind of feel yucky?
Chasing trends isn’t sustainable
Speaking of buying more and more… Buying new things to replace items that function perfectly well is not good for the environment. Interestingly, sustainability is predicted to be a trend this year, but truly the most sustainable practice is to take care of what you have and to not toss it to buy something new. Metal must be mined. Plastics are made from fossil fuels. And the textile industry has been accused of contributing more to environmental degradation than any other industry. I’m glad to see natural materials and sustainability on the trend’s list, but let’s add to that trend. Let’s include valuing what you already have and not defaulting to buying something new because it’s made of sustainable materials.
Financial security feels better than trendy décor
My final problem with the trend predictions is that they make people feel like they need to buy new stuff. Spending money might give you a quick high, but it can certainly cause you to crash when you receive your credit card bill. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience.
My advice: ignore the trends and buy intentionally
I’m not advocating that you abstain from buying new items altogether, but I suspect many of us might be happier if we worried less about appearances/having the latest thing/making sure those in the know can tell that we are part of their crowd. When you do purchase a new item for the home, make sure it fulfills a need, fits your space, and makes you happy.
Buy what works for your space
If you’re buying new furniture, measure the space you have available and know how much clearance you will need around the item to move comfortably. A beautiful new sofa will not make you happy if you cannot move freely around it. It will make you really unhappy if you discover on delivery day that it doesn’t fit through the door.
Buy the best quality you can afford
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but it is always good advice. Spend your money on furniture and fixtures that will hold up over time. It might be better to buy a high-quality piece second hand than to buy a cheap imitation that will fall apart and end up in the dumpster in a few years.
Finally, know yourself and your style.
As they say, with age comes wisdom. As an early 40-something, I now feel confident in my style, and I have more confidence that I can buy things I will love for many years to come. But, it is hard to have that confidence when you’re just starting out, and I certainly made a lot of purchasing mistakes when I was younger. With small paychecks, lots of expenses, and lack of home decorating experience, it can be hard to create a home that feels comfortable when you are just starting out. I think that is the time when people are most susceptible to buying into trends. If you are decorating your first apartment or home and you’re not sure what your style is, stick to the advice above, and I think you will be off to a good start.